Livin’ chile

A trio of tacos is served with rice and beans at La Enchilada in Carson City.

A trio of tacos is served with rice and beans at La Enchilada in Carson City.


La Enchilada is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

I recently lamented to a co-worker the lack of options for authentic Mexican food close to our Carson City office. Turns out her favorite is just a short jog down a road I’d never traveled. La Enchilada is located in a funky little building with a drive-through window and a plethora of chile plants growing around the exterior and on the tables inside. A pair of food trucks take the goodies to the masses.

We were served housemade tortilla chips and scooped up a selection of dips from the salsa bar. The salsas and pico de gallo were first rate, definitely made fresh. The chips were a bit on the thick and crunchy side, though not bad.

Next, we dug into some tacos ($1.50 each), including cabeza (beef head), adobada (marinated pork), lengua (beef tongue) and pollo asada (grilled marinated chicken). Unlike most street-style tacos, these had a single corn tortilla that held up well under the pile of meat, onion, tomato and cilantro. The chicken was moist. The tongue was tender. The cow’s head had the earthy texture and flavor that is unique to that bit of beef. But the pork was a standout—with amazing flavor and texture.

Beef tamales ($1.50 each) were next. They were on the large side but with a lot more cornmeal than meat. While they were perfectly acceptable rendition of this standard, they just weren’t my favorite thing.

A ceviche camaron tostada (citrus cured shrimp on a crispy tortilla) ($3) was much better. The tortilla was considerably lighter and crisper than the chips and doused in salt and lime juice. The shrimp was perfect, and there was plenty of onion, tomato, cilantro and about a quarter of an avocado on top—absolutely fabulous.

I had heard that the torta (Mexican sandwich) was the thing to order here, but they had already sold out by the time I got there. Instead, I ordered a carne asada (steak) super burrito ($9) and wasn’t disappointed. There were tons of meat, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, and just enough rice to fill up this pound-plus beast. It was pretty much everything you’d find on a carne asada combo plate stuffed into a giant flour tortilla. I can say without hyperbole that it was one of the best balanced big burritos I’ve enjoyed.

We also ordered a pair of combo plates, one with chicken enchiladas and the other with a chile relleno ($8.99 each). Both came with Spanish rice, refried beans and a simple salad. The rice and beans had a lot of flavor and worked well together. There was more than your average amount of lettuce, tomato and onion, which I really like to mix in with each bite. The enchiladas were not what you’d normally expect, but I think that was due to the fact they’re made fresh to order. Rather than rolled, the corn tortillas were simply folded over with their meat and veg payload, then topped with red sauce and cheese. They were delicious.

The chef noted that she’d just cooked some fresh chiles rellenos, so that selection was a no-brainer. Not remotely crispy—and eggy to the point of being an omelette wrapped around a stuffed pepper—I still found this to be a winner. It was easily the spiciest relleno I’ve ever had, topped with plenty of melted cheese and sauce. They’re apparently grilled instead of the broiled, and I have to say, the restaurant is on to something. I’m already hooked, but I can’t wait to go back early enough to try that much-lauded torta.